2.5 days is way too short for the world's best city...but if you hurry you can do a lot.
|Quoting Go3Team (Reply 3):|
Having just been to London, and having 3 days to see everything, we got everything done in 1.5.
???!?? Then you obviously don't like cities. Why bother visiting in the first place? You couldn't get "everything" done in London in a week, month, or lifetime, let alone 1.5 days...
This is very true. Some people want to see museums, others want to see street-life, etc.
It's really about your personality and preferences.
For example, I'm not someone who only wants to see the touristy side of places I visit, or the posh parts of a city. I also want to get a feel for life there and for the different layers of the place. So, I agree you could do a tour of the main tourist sites for a day (basically looking from the outside)--because those are the historical heart of the city in many ways--but then take your last day and get away from the tourists and get off the beaten track a bit. You'll also find better (and cheaper) restaurants and shops more easily that way.
A few things to add:
If you like charming country-in-the-city feel, you should check out Hampstead, and the heath.
I think Speedbirdie's list is really good, and Camden is great (the really big market is only weekends though it is interesting during the week too). But one disagreement:
East London is fascinating. You can see so much of the city's history by taking a ride on the docklands light railway. The old port and warehouse areas of the city from its river-based past, later industrial decay and the results of the WWII blitz, bleak post-war high-rise housing projects, new development, different waves of immigrants, etc. If you take it to Greenwich and go up the hill by the observatory, you get some beautiful views too.
Also, East London has some incredible street markets, which to me are one of London's best features. Read up on them if you are interested. I'm more into fruit-veg and that kind of thing then trinkets, so my personal favorite is the least touristy of all: the Ridley Road market in Hackney. It's very vibrant, lots of Jamaican, African, and some Pakistani/Bangladeshi fare along with some of the classic old Cockney market traders. It's a great way to see the incredible ethnic diversity in London and how everyone just gets along too.